A Running ADDICTION?

As I was casually perusing this month's Runner's World magazine (and by that I mean obsessively reading it cover to cover), I came across a couple of startling quotes.

In an article called "Footsteps," John Brant chronicles the life of Darren Brown, the son of a running-obsessed father. Brown's mother says of her husband, "Most people go through cycles. You do something for a time---you run 100 miles a week-- and then your enthusiasm wanes. But Barry got stuck on his passion for running. It was really the only thing that gave his life meaning." As an adult, Brown chose "the same powerfully addictive sport as his father."

Wow, I'd never really thought of running as "powerfully addictive." Aren't those the words people use to describe things like.... crack? And the thought of a husband and father having RUNNING as the thing that gives his life meaning. Well, that's just sad.

I know some people think of me as running obsessed, maybe even running addicted. I Googled "running addiction." There is quite a bit of information out there on the subject. Most of it referred to it as a positive addiction. (I know, that sounds like an oxymoron.)

Having found running a little late in life, I guess I'm trying to make up for lost time. However, running isn't what gives meaning to my life. It ADDS a measure of fun, adventure, happiness, disappointment (sometimes), and challenge to my life. But it isn't the "be-all, end-all" in my life.

So I think I'm ok.

Are you a RUNNING ADDICT? On the Road Runners Clubs of America website, I found this self test.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest, weight each of the following statements as they apply to you and your running. Then total your numbers and check the interpretations at the end of the test. Fill out the test in pencil, or make photocopies so you can retake it periodically.

___Running is extremely important to me. I'm positive I'll be running for the rest of my life.
___A day without a run is a day without sunshine.
___If it becomes downright impossible to get my workout in today, I can always double up tomorrow.
___Until I get my workout in, I'm a real bear, as in unbearable.
___A little pain indicates there's serious progress being made.
___If two aspirin/ibuprofen are good, four are twice as good.
___Warm-up and cool-down are important, but it's what comes in the middle of a workout that counts.
___As far as running goes, more is always better.
___A string of running days must remain unbroken.
___Quality without quantity is impossible.
___Of course I know how many miles I ran last month.
___Unless you've run a marathon, you're not a real runner.
___The more marathons you've run, the more serious a runner you are.
___Rest is for the weary, not for the strong.
___Discomfort exists to run through, not to be an insurmountable barrier.
___All my friends are runners, and I wouldn't consider befriending a nonrunner.
___Many running-related pains can be gotten rid of by running through them.
___If a shirt doesn't boast a race logo, it isn't one I want to wear.
___It exhibits their inbred weakness if people don't want to hear my step-by-step re-creations of races I've run.
___If I have a piddling injury and a sports medicine expert says I shouldn't run, it's obviously time for a second (or third) opinion.

Where does your total fall? (I got 110.)

161-200: Running addiction personified. Get help quickly.
121-160: Leaning toward running addiction; beware.
81-120: Neutral.
41-80: Fitness with a mellow bent.
20-40: Approaching terminal mellow; better sign up for a race.

As a former librarian, I must give credit to the author: Richard Benyo is editor of a new running publication, Marathon & Beyond, which debuts in January as a bimonthly published by Human Kinetics .

Comments

tamara said…
I took the quiz and got a zero, so I think I am okay. :)
I have a dear friend who borders on addiction with running, but I think for mothers it's more about having something all your own. And your body gets addicted to exercise no matter what form it comes in. But I am a perfect example that you can overcome those addicitons as I do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING at this phase of my life.
ha ha.. that was so funny... I got a 172, but I already knew I was a running addict. The only running friends I have are on-line.. so I had to score a 0 on that one. and I only wear my race shirts to workout it, rarely do I wear them other then that. However, I bought the coveted Boston jacket when I ran Boston last year and I wear that as often as possible. ;)
thanks for the smile today.
41-80: Fitness with a mellow bent. I got a 48...As far as answering your "Galloway" questions, here goes:

1) What is your run/walk ratio? My run walk ratio for the marathon will be 1 mile running, 1 minute walking. So, for example, after I run for a mile, I walk for a minute, which according to my Garmin, brings me to 1.06 miles. So then I run until I reach 2.06 miles, then walk for a minute...you get the idea.
2) What pace are you actually running your miles? I need to run my miles at an 8:40(or better) pace in order to average out at 9:09 per mile, which is a 4 hour marathon. So if I run each mile at 8:40, walk for a minute, then I'm good. I just have to make sure I pay close attention to my mileage every time I finish a walk break, so I run a complete mile before walking again. I have a Garmin Forerunner 305, so it's pretty much a no-brainer for me, especially since I'm anal about numbers! I hope this helps. If not, feel free to e-mail me at cotaman@yahoo.com.
Cyndi said…
Well, I don't even need to take the quiz to know I'm addicted! Like you, I found running later in life (like, um...10 months ago)so I am in DEEP right now with reading about running, talking about running, thinking about running....

You are right about it adding various elements of fun and adventure, challenge and dissappointment to our lives...as if 'real life' were not enough for us mom's? Sheesh...we're like masochists!

Nice post!
HEATHER said…
(hi! found your blog through runners lounge) I got a 110 also! phew! I was nervous while taking this quiz, haha!
Casey said…
I think there's got to be a better word than "addict". Addict kinda hints had there being a bit of "crazy" involved. And that can't possibly be the case...right? :)
Bill said…
I scored 26.

I guess I'm terminally mellow. I'm OK with that.
RunnerDude said…
I was surprised that I came out as a Neutral. I thinks because I'm definintely not a run at everyone's expense kind of guy. Can't be when you have 3 kids! LOL!! I do have to say though that running keeps me sane. Just ask my wife. She tells me I need to go run all the time. I think running is a big part of what defines me but it's not what gives my life meaning....just a big part of it. Great post!!
spaceneedl said…
"...the thought of a husband and father having RUNNING as the thing that gives his life meaning. Well, that's just sad."

i think this is a matter of interpretation (said the no-not-really-addicted runner). maybe running provides context or the opportunity to think through life events or the clarity to define the meaning of one's life. from that standpoint i could see how running could give one's life meaning.

but without the rest of life happening nonstop, 24/7 every day until it stops... running has no meaning. it'd be like saying breathing gives life meaning. completely non sequitur.